Alias (TV series)
Learn more about Alias (TV series)
Season one DVD box cover
|Running time||approx. 42 minutes|
|Creator(s)||J. J. Abrams|
|Starring|| Jennifer Garner|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Original run||September 30, 2001–May 22, 2006|
|No. of episodes|| 105|
(+1 animated short)
Alias was an American "Spy-fi" television series created by J. J. Abrams that aired on ABC from September 30, 2001 to May 22, 2006. It starred Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow, a CIA agent, who was usually seen wearing a colorful new disguise while undercover in some part of the world.
A major plotline of the series was the search for and recovery of artifacts created by Milo Rambaldi, a fictional Leonardo da Vinci-like inventor and Nostradamus-like prophet from the Renaissance period. This plot and some technologies used in the series pushed Alias into the genre of science fiction.
 Cast and characters
Original cast from Season 1:
- Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow
- Victor Garber as Jack Bristow
- Ron Rifkin as Arvin Sloane
- Michael Vartan as Michael Vaughn (Episodes 1-89, guest star afterwards)
- Carl Lumbly as Marcus Dixon
- Kevin Weisman as Marshall Flinkman
- Greg Grunberg as Eric Weiss (Seasons 3 & 4, recurring before and afterwards)
- Bradley Cooper as Will Tippin (Seasons 1 & 2, guest star in Seasons 3 and 5)
- Merrin Dungey as Francie Calfo (Seasons 1 & 2, guest star in season 3 and Series Finale of season 5)
Introduced in Season 1:
Introduced in Season 2:
Introduced in Season 3:
- Melissa George as Lauren Reed (Season 3)
- Mía Maestro as Nadia Santos (Season 4, recurring before and afterwards)
Introduced in Season 5:
- Balthazar Getty as Thomas Grace (Season 5)
- Rachel Nichols as Rachel Gibson (Season 5)
- Élodie Bouchez as Renée Rienne (Season 5, from episodes 89-97, recurring afterwards)
- Amy Acker as Kelly Peyton (Season 5, recurring from episodes 91-97, cast from 98 onwards)
 Production and crew
Produced by Touchstone Television and Bad Robot Productions, film production primarily took place in the greater Los Angeles area. Despite its worldwide locales, only one episode was ever filmed outside the Los Angeles region (Las Vegas, Nevada).
- J. J. Abrams - Executive Producer
- John Eisendrath - Executive Producer
- Alex Kurtzman - Executive Producer
- Roberto Orci - Executive Producer
- Jeff Pinkner - Executive Producer
- Jesse Alexander - Executive Producer
- Ken Olin - Executive Producer
- Michael Giacchino - Composer
- Michael Haro - Coordinating Producer
 Season 1
Seven years before season 1, Sydney Bristow was an undergraduate student when she was approached with a job offer by someone claiming to work for SD-6, which was supposedly part of the Central Intelligence Agency. She accepted the offer, and quickly became a field agent. In the pilot, she tells her fiancé Danny that she is a spy. As a result of revealing SD-6's existence to an outsider, her fiance is murdered by SD-6.
It is then that Sydney is told by her father Jack Bristow (another SD-6 agent) that SD-6 is not part of the CIA; instead, it is part of the Alliance of Twelve, an organization that is an enemy to the United States. Sydney decides to offer her services to the real CIA as a double agent. Her offer is soon accepted, and she begins the long and arduous task of destroying SD-6 from the inside. She quickly learns that her father is also a double agent for the CIA.
Major plotlines from season 1 include Sydney hiding her triple-identity from her friends, both in her personal life and in her SD-6 job ; Will Tippin's investigation into Danny's death, and the past antics of Sydney's mother.
 Season 2
The second season begins with the introduction of Irina Derevko, Sydney's mother, who soon becomes a vital part of the series. Midway through the second season, the series underwent a "reboot" of sorts with Sydney successfully destroying SD-6 (after gathering valuable intelligence for tactical strikes from an airborne SD-6 server) and becoming a regular agent for the CIA, still in pursuit of former SD-6 leader Arvin Sloane, his associate Julian Sark, and the Rambaldi artifacts. Sydney's friends at SD-6, Marcus Dixon and Marshall Flinkman, are finally made aware of her dual identity and also brought into the CIA.
In the second half of the season, it was revealed that Francie Calfo, Sydney's best friend, was killed and replaced by Allison Doren, a woman who was transfigured to look exactly like her. Allison was then in a position to spy on Sydney and Will. The end of the season saw Will possibly murdered and Sydney (following a ferocious battle with Allison) awakening in Hong Kong to discover from Vaughn that not only has she been missing for the last two years, but also that Vaughn found a new love and is now married.
 Season 3
The third season takes place two years after the events of season 2, with Sydney having been missing and presumed dead. DNA evidence in a badly burned body confirmed her death to her family and friends.
The truth, however, is that Sydney was kidnapped by a terrorist organization called The Covenant, that tried to brainwash her into believing she was an assassin named Julia Thorne. Eventually Sydney voluntarily had her memories of the two years erased in an attempt to forget some of the deeds she was forced to undertake as Julia and to ensure that one of Rambaldi's artifacts would never be found.
As Sydney recovers, she begins investigating her absence while reintegrating into the CIA. There she deals with the facts that Arvin Sloane had become a world-renowned humanitarian after being pardoned, and that Michael Vaughn had married NSC agent Lauren Reed. Reed was revealed as a member of the Covenant and a lover of Julian Sark. The NSC plays a role as a government organization that holds massive unsupervised power, with a Guantanamo-like detention facility and considerable influence over the CIA, and driven by questionable motives.
At the end of the season, Sydney goes on a mission and encounters Lauren. After battling, Lauren begins to taunt Sydney by saying she has information about her past. When Vaughn shows up, Sydney goes to him, leaving Lauren a chance to attack again. Vaughn shoots Lauren, and she dies, but before she does she gives Sydney the number of a security deposit box where she can find information about her past.
 Season 4
Season 4 begins where season three ended with Sydney uncovering a shocking, classified document called "S.A.B. 47 Project." It is explained that the document authorizes Jack Bristow to execute Sydney's mother, who had mysteriously placed a contract on Sydney's life (this was apparently something of a retcon to cover for actress Lena Olin's presumed departure from the series, as the first page refers to Sydney as the "active" subject of a "project" that began 17 April, 1975, a possible reference to Project Christmas).
Sydney joins a black ops division of the CIA, patterned after SD-6 and run by her one-time nemesis Arvin Sloane. The new division is dubbed "APO": Authorized Personnel Only. Members of APO (all hand-picked by Sloane) include almost all of the recurring characters from previous seasons, including Jack, Vaughn, Sydney's former partner (and third season CIA director) Marcus Dixon, the computer and technical genius, Marshall Flinkman, and Vaughn's best friend Eric Weiss (brought in after having to be rescued by Sydney and Vaughn, who he previously believed to have left the CIA). Sloane's daughter and Sydney's half-sister Nadia Santos also eventually returns to join APO.
During the season, an Arvin Sloane impostor, jokingly identified as "Arvin Clone," acquired the technology to implement a Rambaldi-predicted apocalypse. Using Omnifam, the real Sloane had polluted the world's drinking water with chemicals that caused feelings of peace and tranquility. However, these feelings can be reversed with the Mueller device. The third Derevko sister, Elena, had built a giant Mueller device in Sovogda, Russia, which drove the residents to insanity. Sydney, Jack, Irina, Nadia, and Vaughn parachute in, destroy the device and kill Elena. But Nadia is injected with the tainted water and driven insane. She battles Sydney until Sloane is forced to shoot his own daughter. Nadia is later put into a coma while a cure is sought and Irina escapes again.
The season concludes with Sydney and Vaughn becoming engaged. On a trip to Santa Barbara, Vaughn confides a shocking secret: his name isn't really Michael Vaughn; their initial meeting wasn't coincidental; and that his allegiance may not be to the CIA. Before he can divulge any more information, another car hits theirs and the season ends.
 Season 5
As season five begins, Vaughn is abducted. Sydney learns that Vaughn is under suspicion of being a double agent and that the crash may have been a cover for his extraction. Vaughn later escapes and explains to Sydney that his real name is André Michaux. He reveals that he is investigating a secret operation known as Prophet Five, which at one point involved his father. During a mission in recovering a Prophet Five book, Sydney receives a phone call from her doctor with some untimely news - she's pregnant. Vaughn is later shot and (apparently) killed on orders of Prophet Five operative Gordon Dean. Four months later, as Sydney continues to investigate Vaughn's murder, she works with an assassin and associate of his, Renée Rienne, in order to unearth the inner workings of Prophet Five, while at the same time trailing Dean and his criminal organization "The Shed," disguised as a black ops CIA division, very much like SD-6.
Two new members are added to APO to replace Weiss, who moved to Washington, D.C. for a new job, and Nadia, who is still in a coma. Thomas Grace is a brash young agent with unorthodox methods who often butts heads with Sydney. Rachel Gibson is a computer specialist who, like Sydney, was deceived into thinking she was working for the real CIA and briefly works as a mole within The Shed, as did Sydney within SD-6, before The Shed's destruction by Dean.
In an ongoing subplot, Arvin Sloane follows his own personal obsession, finding a cure for Nadia. Sloane is jailed for his actions during Season 4; however, he is released after the sentencing committee is manipulated by Dean. In exchange for his freedom, Sloane is now working for Dean as a mole within APO. Unaware of Sloane's new allegiance, Jack agrees to let Sloane rejoin APO and use its resources to seek a cure for his daughter.
With the series' end, it emerges that Sloane's ultimate goal is that of immortality, for which he sacrifices Nadia's life. However, he is trapped forever in Rambaldi's tomb by a critically wounded Jack, who sacrifices himself to avenge all the pain Sloane caused Sydney over the years. Sydney tracks Sark and the Horizon to Hong Kong, finding Irina. After a final battle between them, Irina plunges to her death.
The series ends with a flash forward to several years in the future. Sydney and Vaughn are semi-retired and married, with a second child named Jack in honor of Sydney's father. Daughter Isabelle exhibits the same sort of talent that marked Sydney as having inborn skills to be an ideal agent. However Isabelle knocking down the same CIA test that Sydney completed at Isabelle's age could symbolize that Isabelle will not follow in her mother's footsteps with regard to her occupation.
- Family — Series creator J. J. Abrams has stated several times that the show is a family drama set within the world of espionage. Family relationships abound throughout the show. In the first season this focused mainly on the strained relationship between Sydney and her father, with echoes in Arvin and Emily Sloane's relationship as surrogate parents for Sydney, and her idealization of her supposedly dead mother. The second season saw Sydney having to come to grips with issues surrounding her mother. The third and fourth seasons changed the mostly parent-child family dynamic, and instead introduced issues revolving around spouses and extended family, as Vaughn struggled to save his marriage and renew his relationship with Sydney. We also met the two sisters of Irina Derevko. However, the parent-child dynamic survived as Vaughn learned that his father was more than a simple CIA agent and as Sloane discovered that he had a daughter. The fifth season can be, in some ways, regarded as a "next generation" in the family drama of Alias. Sydney and Vaughn were finally to be married, and Sydney is becoming a mother in her own right. This is literal, as Sydney discovered that she was pregnant, and also figurative as Sydney takes on a parental role in relation to the new agent Rachel.
- Prophecy / Predetermination — A good deal of Alias revolves around the prophecies of Milo Rambaldi. We are first introduced to a prophecy about a woman who will "render the greatest power unto utter desolation." Later, as Sloane completes part of the Rambaldi prophecy we learn that he has received his own prophetic message. The Rambaldi storyline seemed to come to a close with the conclusion of Elena Derevko's endgame at the end of season four, but the fifth season introduced its own "prophet" (also in pursuit of Rambaldi) in the form of the mysterious organization known as Prophet Five, which ended up being a reference to Rambaldi and his actual endgame, immortality, which had been set up in the first season.
- Trust / Betrayal — Much of the first three seasons of the show revolved around issues of trust and betrayal. Most obvious is the betrayal of Sydney by SD-6 which starts the show. However, the show includes numerous other examples of betrayal including Irina's betrayal of Jack, Sloane's betrayal of the Alliance, Sydney's betrayal of SD-6 and Sydney's lying to her friends. Indeed the first season can be viewed as a story of Sydney learning to trust her father and the second season can be viewed as Sydney struggling with trust issues relating to her mother.
- Private / Non-Governmental Intelligence Agencies — The world of Alias has one of the largest collections of fictional intelligence agencies in the history of espionage fiction. These agencies are clandestine espionage groups that trade secrets and weapons. Fictional spy organizations that have been featured on the show include:
- SD-6: one of twelve Section Disparue cells under the Alliance of Twelve, employing Sydney Bristow in Season 1 under the auspices that it is a black-ops division of the CIA.
- The Alliance of Twelve: a ruthless international organization, originally formed by twelve defectors from various intelligence agencies. Each member of the Alliance of Twelve is believed to be in charge of an SD cell.
- K-Directorate: a private agency based in Russia and staffed by veterans of communist intelligence services. It is featured mostly in Season 1.
- FTL: based in Hong Kong and apparently specialized in more high tech espionage. It was destroyed by Julian Sark in Season 1.
- "The Man" (aka Irina Derevko) ran an unnamed organization which destroyed FTL and co-opted K-Directorate.
- The Covenant was introduced in season three. They had co-opted many agents of other organizations including Sark, McKenas Cole, and even (through brainwashing) Sydney.
- Prophet Five: the organization that oversees The Shed, and is one of the oldest agencies yet to be discovered by the CIA, having been involved in some sort of high level research twenty years ago. It has been running at least one SD-6-like organization, the Shed, which Rachel Gibson was a part of. Prophet Five is in control of a communications network that reveals infiltration of major intelligence agencies such as MI-6 and others. The twelve leaders of Prophet Five were all killed by Kelly Peyton in the series finale.
 Opening credits
Alias is unusual for an American drama series in that the opening credits do not run until the end of the first long act, sometimes as late as 15 minutes into the episode. In some respects this mimics the James Bond films, which likewise feature sometimes-lengthy pre-credits sequences. Depending on the demands of a particular episode, the credit sequence is occasionally dropped as the actor credits play over a scene; on those occasions, the series title does not appear on screen until the final fade out.
As the opening credits appear, the letters in the ALIAS reference flash in negative form one by one. The "S" is the last letter to appear, this time in permanent negative. In virtually every episode, the title of a city or town location will slowly zoom in, with one letter being shown in negative and a specific scene appearing within that negative. As it usually does with the "S" in the show title at the very start, this letter eventually takes up the entire screen and gives way to the scene itself.
The first three seasons used a minimalist credit sequence consisting only of the actors names appearing as the title Alias gradually forms in one corner of an otherwise black screen. For one frame in Seasons 1 and 3 during Victor Garber's credit, the Rambaldi "eye" symbol ( <o> ) flashes over the Alias title; In Season 2, it flashes during Lena Olin's credit
For the fourth season, a shorter, flashier credit sequence was introduced that used a new, remixed version of the theme. As the cast names appeared, 52 images of Sydney in 47 various disguises appear in rapid succession, ending with a shot from the third season premiere of her shooting a gun.
For the fifth season, another credit sequence was designed, as the previous version was criticized for making it difficult to read the actors' names (since the eye was drawn to the many images of Jennifer Garner) and for focusing exclusively on Garner. Now for the first time, the actors are shown on screen as their names appear. The same remix of the theme music from the previous year is utilized. Also, the flashing of the letters when ALIAS is spelled out is actually in morse code. The flashing translates to AGENT KANE (who was a character who appeared in 3 episodes in the 2nd season played by Faye Dunaway). During the first half of the season, Elodie Bouchez appeared in the opening credits, but beginning with the episode "Maternal Instincts" her credit was changed to a "special guest star" credit outside the opening sequence and Amy Acker was added to the opening credits in place of Bouchez.
Most episodes in the first season included a prologue narrated by Sydney Bristow, setting up the premise of the series. In the first half of season two this was replaced by a voiceover by Greg Grunberg (who plays Agent Weiss).
The first season of Alias begins in 2001, the same year the series first aired. A reference to Homeland security midway through the first season suggests the series begins not long before, or not long after September 11 as the federal Homeland Security department was not established until some weeks after September 11 (other than the Homeland Security reference, there is no explicit reference to 9/11 in the first season; however, there is a reference to Osama bin Laden and a reference to the War on Terror in two episodes in season 2). In season 1, each episode covers roughly the events of one week in Sydney's life, thus each episode is said to take place a week apart, although this pattern was not maintained throughout the series. In several episodes, references were made to actual real world events. For example, in one episode, Sydney suggested to Vaughn that they should catch a L.A. Kings game, and that they'd be taking on the Islanders. This actual game took place roughly around the same time the episode was broadcast on January 20th, 2002.
The season 2 finale, which sees Sydney lose two years of her life, would suggest that the series as of the start of season 3 takes place two years ahead of "real world" time, however the series was not always consistent in maintaining this. For example, in season 3 episode 17 (airdate 3/28/04), the date 3/26/04 was shown on Lauren's event calendar. For most of the episodes in Season 3-4, the writers avoided mentioning any current calendar dates in any episode. The one fact that did contradict this was the date on the tombstone of the supposedly dead Irina Derevko, which, when calculated, would suggest that the show was still running on "real world" time rather than 2 years in the future. However, a statement made by Sydney in the fifth season premiere "Prophet 5" regarding the length of time since she first went undercover at SD-6, is in keeping with the established timeline. And finally, the timeline seems to jump back one more time. In the season 5 episode "Out of the Box", character Renee tells Dr. Desantis, the genetic double of her father from the cryogenic box that it is currently 2006. This appears to be the first direct reference to the actual date of events.
No time elapses between the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2, and there are two years, one month, and several hours between seasons 2 and 3, 3 and 4, and 4 and 5 respectively (in addition, the events of the season 5 premiere episode take place over the course of 4 months). Given that there were roughly three to four months between the airing of the first few seasons, an 8-month interval between the broadcast of seasons 3 and 4, and a 4-month hiatus in the midst of season 5, by the final season Alias would only be a matter of months ahead of real-world time, making the 2006 statement plausible in the timeline. The series finale makes a further jump forward of several years (circa 2010 based upon the apparent age of Sydney's daughter).
 U.S. Television Ratings
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Alias on ABC.
Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
(Eastern & Pacific Time)
|Season Premiere||Season Finale||TV Season||Ranking|| Viewers|
|1st||Sunday 9:00PM||September 30, 2001||May 12, 2002||2001-2002||#58<ref name="eonline">Ryan, Joal. "TV Season Wraps; "CSI" Rules", E! Online, May 22, 2003.</ref>||9.7<ref name="eonline">Ryan, Joal. "TV Season Wraps; "CSI" Rules", E! Online, May 22, 2003.</ref>|
|2nd||September 29, 2002||May 4, 2003||2002-2003||#78<ref name="eonline">Ryan, Joal. "TV Season Wraps; "CSI" Rules", E! Online, May 22, 2003.</ref>||9.0<ref name="eonline">Ryan, Joal. "TV Season Wraps; "CSI" Rules", E! Online, May 22, 2003.</ref>|
|3rd||September 28, 2003||May 23, 2004||2003-2004||#78<ref>Viewership numbers of primetime programs during the 2004-05 television season</ref>||8.2<ref name="bg">Ryan, Suzanne. "TV producers have to be agile to deal with ratings, say experts", Boston Globe, January 16, 2005.</ref>|
|4th||Wednesday 9:00PM||January 9, 2005||May 25, 2005||2004-2005||#40<ref name="0405">"2004-05 Final audience and ratings figures", Hollywood Reporter, May 27, 2005.</ref>||10.3<ref name="0405">"2004-05 Final audience and ratings figures", Hollywood Reporter, May 27, 2005.</ref>|
|5th|| Thursday 8:00PM|
(from September 29, 2005 to
November 17, 2005)
(December 7, 2005 and
December 14, 2005)
(from April 19, 2006 to
May 17, 2006)
(May 22, 2006)
|September 29, 2005||May 22, 2006||2005-2006||#93<ref name="0506">"2005-06 primetime wrap", Hollywood Reporter, May 26, 2006.</ref>||7.2<ref name="0506">"2005-06 primetime wrap", Hollywood Reporter, May 26, 2006.</ref>|
Although Alias was never considered a "hit", its series run began during a time when the ABC television network was in decline, after the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire debacle. In fact, Alias was one of the first shows to be placed in one of the old Who Wants to Be a Millionaire timeslots, which were Sunday nights at 9 p.m. (Eastern & Pacific time) in late 2001. Unlike many of the programs on ABC from 2001-2003, Alias was a series that garnered critical buzz, a cult following, and decent viewing numbers in the advertiser-friendly age 18-49 demographic. This led to ABC keeping the series on its schedule for 5 years.
Despite earning critical acclaim from USA Today<ref name="usatoday">Bianco, Robert. "Super 'Alias' will bowl you over", USA Today, January 23, 2003.</ref> for the January 26, 2003 episode entitled "Phase One" and attracting the largest audience of the series with 17.4 million viewers,<ref name="medialife">Fitzgerald, Toni. "How ABC fumbled its Super Bowl edge", Media Life Magazine, January 29, 2003.</ref> this episode retained just 19 percent<ref name="medialife">Fitzgerald, Toni. "How ABC fumbled its Super Bowl edge", Media Life Magazine, January 29, 2003.</ref> of the Super Bowl XXXVII audience and has the dubious distinction of earning the lowest overall ratings for a program airing after a Super Bowl since at least 1987<ref name="medialife">Fitzgerald, Toni. "How ABC fumbled its Super Bowl edge", Media Life Magazine, January 29, 2003.</ref> and the lowest rating ever (8.3 rating) in the age 18-49 demographic for a post-Super Bowl program.<ref name="medialife">Fitzgerald, Toni. "How ABC fumbled its Super Bowl edge", Media Life Magazine, January 29, 2003.</ref> Also, since the episode started airing at 11 p.m. on the East Coast, it was not eligible for the week's list of top primetime shows ranked by Nielsen Media Research and thus, the episode's viewership numbers were not factored in the series' overall 2002-2003 season average.
Its ratings peak (albeit non-spectacular) was reached in its fourth season, when ABC moved the program to Wednesdays 9 p.m. (Eastern & Pacific time), the time slot following another (yet more successful) J. J. Abrams' drama, Lost, while airing the season's episodes in (almost) consecutive weeks beginning with the January 5, 2005 2-hour season premiere (watched by 15.8 million viewers;<ref>"Primetime Ratings Report: For the week of January 3-9, 2005", ABC Medianet, January 11, 2005.</ref> the second most-watched episode in the series) and ending in May 2005. However, the fourth season was the only season in which this near-consecutive-week schedule was used and the increase in audience numbers was minimal since it faced hefty timeslot competition from the results show of the fourth season of FOX's mega-hit American Idol.
Coming off its most-watched season, Alias was moved to Thursdays 8 p.m. (Eastern & Pacific time) in the fall of 2005 by ABC in an effort to invigorate the network's lackluster Thursday night lineup. However, the move proved unsuccessful for the series, receiving the lowest viewership in the show's history. Alias became another scripted show in the history of ABC to not survive more than a year in this timeslot since Mork & Mindy was cancelled in 1982.<ref>Ryan, Joal. ""Alias," AKA Canceled", E! Online, November 23, 2005.</ref> (other ABC shows experiencing this Thursday 8 p.m. fate: Joanie Loves Chachi, The Fall Guy, Sledge Hammer!, Knightwatch, Mission: Impossible, Father Dowling Mysteries, Delta, My So-Called Life, Vengeance Unlimited, Monk, Threat Matrix)
ABC gave the show a 4-month hiatus (to allow Jennifer Garner to give birth) and when it was brought back in April 2006, its new timeslot was Wednesdays at 8 p.m. However, the viewer numbers remained dismal, culminating in a 2-hour series finale airing on Monday, May 22, 2006 (against the season finales of the hit dramas, FOX's 24 and CBS' CSI: Miami) which attracted 6.68 million viewers.<ref>Berman, Marc. "The Programming Insider", Mediaweek, May 23, 2006.</ref> In comparison, the series premiere, which aired on Sunday, September 30, 2001, attracted an average of 15 million viewers.<ref>Armstrong, Mark. "Ratings: Everybody Loves Old Shows", E! Online, October 2, 2001.</ref>
ABC has been accused of "killing off" the show after it spawned the hits Lost and Desperate Housewives but during ABC's darkest hour where its reality schedule imploded, Alias remained a consistent critical and audience favorite.
The Alias production team has participated in at least two spoofs based upon the series and featuring cast members.
- The first was produced in 2002 for a segment of ABC's Monday Night Football in which Sydney (played as always by Jennifer Garner) is ordered by Sloane (Ron Rifkin) to infiltrate the locker room of the Washington Redskins NFL team in order to steal the coach's playbook. Syd disguises herself as a cheerleader and distracts the "Hogettes," a group of Redskins fans, with a jug of beer before stealing the book. Upon returning to SD-6 headquarters, she is horrified to find Sloane wearing a pig mask and oinking. This skit was advertised as being included in the season 2 DVD box set, but it was dropped from the set at the last minute without explanation. Another specially filmed MNF segment featuring Garner was included in the season 3 DVD set, but this was not, strictly speaking, a spoof.
- Another faux Alias "episode" was produced for a 2003 TV special celebrating the 50th anniversary of ABC. Featuring most of the regular cast of the series, the skit began with Jack Bristow preparing Sydney and Vaughn for a mission, and informing them that they will have a new partner - Detective Columbo (Peter Falk). Columbo proceeds to wreak havoc at CIA headquarters, accidentally shooting Vaughn with an anesthetic dart and volunteering to wear a skimpy bikini intended for Sydney during the mission. Columbo reveals that his mission is not to aid the CIA but rather to help Walt Disney Company/ABC head Michael Eisner better understand the show. His work completed, Columbo departs, leaving Jack to utter a confused, "My god, that was strange."
Other spoofs and humorous references include:
- "Alias: The Lost Episode" was created as a tribute to the show by Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin's Newborn Pictures, an independent film company. A tribute to the series's beginnings, it is a parody of a typical Season 1 episode, from Sydney's relationship with Francie and Will, to Sydney's sexual tension with her CIA handler Vaughn, to the episode's cliffhanger. The co-writers and directors, who also act in the film (Rankin plays the part of Sydney Bristow), sent the short to J.J. Abrams, who in turn wrote letters of thanks to the cast and crew of the film. Potelle and Rankin later won the second Project Greenlight Competition. Their 15-minute short can be viewed online: ALIAS: The Lost Episode.
- In an episode of Bradley Cooper's sitcom Kitchen Confidential, Michael Vartan guests as a rival French chef. Cooper's character makes a quip along the lines of, "it's almost like we used to work together".
- MADtv created a season 1 spoof.
- In episode 23 of Robot Chicken, the series is re-imagined with the part of Sydney being played by a killer whale ("Whalias"), complete with red hair and lipstick. The sketch features Sydney undercover in a glamorious party at Sea World, pretending to be a prize-winning cellist. A fight scene occurs in typical Alias style.
 Links to Lost
- In "The Awful Truth", music from Drive Shaft (the rock band featuring Charlie Pace) can be heard during Weiss' birthday party.
- Oceanic Airlines Sydney to Los Angeles nonstop flight is featured in an Alias episode where the flight's departure announcement can be heard over the airport loudspeakers at LAX. The plane that crashed in the pilot episode of Lost was Oceanic Airlines 815, flying non-stop from Sydney to Los Angeles.
- Terry O'Quinn (FBI Assistant Director Kendall in Alias Season 2) currently plays John Locke on Lost.
- Greg Grunberg (Eric Weiss) portrayed Flight 815's pilot in the first episode of Lost.
- Lost also features an episode in which a main character, in flashback, encounters a CIA agent played by an actress who had previously appeared in a similar role on Alias, possibly intended to be the same character.
- The actor François Chau plays Mr. Cho in the Alias episode "Crossings" (2004) and also appears in Lost as Dr. Marvin Candle/Dr. Mark Wickmun in the various Dharma orientation films.
Speculation that the shows exist within the same universe could prove unlikely as Terry O'Quinn, François Chau, and Greg Grunberg have played different characters on both shows, not to mention the fact that Grunberg as the pilot died in the first episode of Lost, while Agent Weiss in Alias is still very much alive. However, plotlines using the same actors or actresses for different roles frequently happens in other fictional shared universes, such as the various Law & Order and Star Trek shows. In addition, Sloane's Omnifam foundation may be involved in the Lost Experience game.
Some of these links, however, could have just been inserted by writers who work on both series (this is plausible given that J.J. Abrams produces both shows), intended to be either inside jokes or as easter eggs, meant to be picked out by observant fans of both shows.
 DVD releases
All five seasons have been released on DVD in North America.
 Season 1
The 6-DVD box set of Season 1 was released in region 1 format (US) on September 2, 2003, and in region 2 format (UK) on September 29 2003. The DVDs contain all episodes of Season 1, plus the following features:
- Audio commentaries on select episodes
- Deleted Scenes
- Pilot production diary
- Featurette: A Mission Around The World
- Marshall Finkman's Gadget Gallery
- Season Two Preview
- Season Three Preview
- PS2 game sneak peek
- Gag reel
 Season 2
The 6-DVD box set of Season 2 was released in region 1 format (US) on December 2, 2003, and in region 2 format (UK) on June 7 2004. The DVDs contain all episodes of Season 2, plus the following features:
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
- Audio Commentary with cast & crew
- The Making of The Telling - An In-Depth Look at the Season Finale
- The Making of the Video Game
- Featurette: Undercover: The Look of Alias - A Look at Costume Design, Makeup, and Disguises
(A skit filmed for Monday Night Football was advertised as being in the set, but was removed from the DVD set before release.)
 Season 3
The 6-DVD box set of Season 3 was released in region 1 format (US) on September 7, 2004, and in region 2 format (UK) on May 30 2005. The DVDs contain all episodes of Season 3, plus the following features:
- Animated Alias: Tribunal - a brief animated feature detailing a mission that Sydney undertook during her "missing" two years.
- Deleted scenes
- Blooper reel
- Featurette: Burbank in Barcelona - a look at the production design
- Gadget Lab - Marshall Finkman's gadgets from script to screen
- The Alias Diaries - meet the unsung craftsmen and technicians
- Team Alias - two sport-related features: a special introduction filmed for Monday Night Football, and Michael Vartan meets the Stanley Cup.
- Ultimate fan audio commentary
- Script scanner
- Cast & Crew Commentaries
- Widescreen anamorphic video format.
 Season 4
The 6-DVD box set of Season 4 was released in region 1 format (US) on October 25, 2005, and in region 2 format (UK) on November 21 2005. The DVDs contain all episodes of Season 4, plus the following features:
- Original "Nocturne" episode featuring the unaired Russian Roulette scene
- Agent Weiss: Spy Camera - a narrated slide-show of digital photos taken behind the scenes by Greg Grunberg
- Audio Commentaries With Cast And Crew
- A Chat With Jennifer Garner
- Meet Mia: Syd's Little Sister
- Marshall's World - a comedic behind-the-scenes tour hosted by Kevin Weisman
- The Guest Stars Of Season 4
- ALIAS Blooper Reel
- Director's Diary
- Anatomy Of A Scene
- Deleted Scenes
 Season 5
The DVD set includes the final 17 episodes of the series, presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1), along with English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The set contains the following extras.
- Celebrating 100: Behind The Scenes Of The 100th Episode
- The Legend of Rambaldi
- Heightening the Drama: The Music of Alias
- The New Recruit: On Set with Rachel Nichols
- Season 5 Bloopers
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio Commentaries by Jennifer Garner, JJ Abrams, Victor Garber, Rachel Nichols, David Anders, and others.
- Hidden Easter Eggs
 The Rambaldi Collection (Complete Series)
A limited release Rambaldi Collection was released on the same day as Season 5, featuring all 5 seasons of the series as well as a bonus disc. Only 40,000 copies of this set will be made worldwide.  
- Available Subtitles: English, Spanish.
- Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1).
29 discs with every episode of all five seasons, plus bonus disc of never-before-seen extras including:
- Jennifer Garner's never-before-seen first interview as Sydney Bristow
- Exclusive J.J. Abrams interview
- Identity theft – Alias' sexiest Aliases
- Case Closed: Emotional cast reunion from the series finale
- Dossier 47 – The Secret of the Infamous Number
- Fan montage, bloopers, and more!
- Packaged in replica of Rambaldi artifact box, with secret compartment holding the bonus disc
- Hardbound book revealing answers to the show's deepest secrets, including introductory letter from JJ Abrams
The Region 2 release of this set is literally the five season boxsets placed into one big box, and the bonus disc is supplied in a clearly visible slimline case (as opposed to a "secret compartment"). Also, the hardbound book is not included with the Region 2 release.
 Alias: The Video Game
The video game Alias, based on the series, is a 3D third-person stealth action title developed and released by Acclaim Entertainment for the PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The plot was written by the creators of the show and the game features the voices of the cast principals. It was released on April 6, 2004, and has a rating of T for Teen. The game is set between episodes 19 and 20 of season 2.
Prior to the Acclaim release, ABC Television produced an episodic downloadable videogame entitled Alias: Underground which is available through ABC's website. The game was a 3D third-person stealth action game much like the Acclaim production, with missions released monthly during the original broadcast of the TV show's second season.
 Original novels
A number of original novels based upon the series have been published, primarily for a teenage reading audience. Due to the intricate and story arc-based nature of the series, most novels published to date have been prequels to the series, some focusing on Sydney in her early missions for SD-6, and others focusing on Vaughn's missions before meeting her. Their canon status with regards to the televised series has yet to be determined. Although aimed at young readers, the books tackle serious subject matter, such as one volume which details the first time Sydney kills someone.
- Recruited - Lynn Mason (2002) ISBN 0-553-49398-1
- A Secret Life - Laura Peyton Roberts (2003) ISBN 0-7522-1538-8
- Disappeared - Lynn Mason (2003) ISBN 0-553-49400-7
- Sister Spy - Laura Peyton Roberts (2003) ISBN 0-553-49401-5
- The Pursuit - Elizabeth Skurnick (2003) ISBN 0-553-49402-3
- Close Quarters - Emma Harrison (2003) ISBN 0-553-49403-1
- Father Figure - Laura Peyton Roberts (2003) ISBN 0-553-49404-X
- Free Fall - Christa Roberts (2004) ISBN 0-553-49405-8
- Infiltration - Breen Frazier (2004) ISBN 0-553-49437-6
- Vanishing Act - Sean Gerace (2004) ISBN 0-553-49438-4
- Skin Deep - Cathy Hapka (2004) ISBN 0-553-49439-2
- Shadowed - Elizabeth Skurnick (2004) ISBN 0-553-49440-6
A new series of novels are in publication. Entitled "The APO Series", they fit into the season four timeframe and are published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment.
- Two of a Kind? - Greg Cox (April 26, 2005) ISBN 1-4169-0213-9
- Faina - Rudy Gaborno, Chris Hollier (April 26, 2005) ISBN 1-4169-0245-7
- Collateral Damage - Pierce Askegren (June 28, 2005) ISBN 1-4169-0247-3
- Replaced - Emma Harrison (July 26, 2005) ISBN 1-4169-0246-5
- The Road Not Taken - Greg Cox (October 4, 2005) ISBN 1-4169-0248-1
- Vigilance - Paul Ruditis (December 6, 2005) ISBN 1-4169-0928-1
- Strategic Reserve - Christina F. York (March 7, 2006) ISBN 1-4169-0946-X
- Once Lost - Kirsten Beyer (April 25, 2006) ISBN 1-4169-0947-8
- Namesakes - Greg Cox (July 11, 2006) ISBN 1-4169-2442-6
- Old Friends - Steven Hanna (September, 2006) ISBN 1-4169-2443-4
- The Ghost - Brian Studlet (November, 2006) ISBN 1-4169-2444-2
- A Touch of Death - Christina York (December 2006) ISBN 1-4169-2446-9
- Mind Games - Paul Ruditis (December 2006) ISBN 1-4169-2445-0
- Argentina - AXN
- Australia - Seven Network - FOX8
- Austria - ATV+
- Belgium - VT4(originally: VRT)
- Brazil - AXN
- Canada - CTV and Space: The Imagination Station.
- Chile - AXN RedTV
- Croatia - HRT
- Czech Republic - TV Nova (Season 1, Season 2)
- Denmark - TV2 and TV2 Zulu
- France - Téva and Métropole 6
- Finland - Nelonen
- Germany - ProSieben
- Greece - ANT1
- Hungary - RTL Klub
- Hong Kong - TVB Pearl and AXN (AXN-Asia)
- Iceland - Sjónvarpið
- India - AXN
- Indonesia - Indosiar
- Ireland - RTÉ Two
- Israel - AXN
- Italy - Rai Due (new episodes) and Fox
- Japan - NHK-BS2 (Season 1-2) and AXN (Season 1-3)
- Latin America - It now airs on AXN 
- Lithuania - TV3
- Malaysia - 8TV and AXN
- Middle East - MBC 4, One TV
- New Zealand - TV2
- Norway - TV3, ZTV (Season 1-3) and Tvnorge (season 4)
- Philippines - ABS-CBN, AXN (AXN-Asia)
- Poland - TVP 1 and AXN
- Portugal - SIC and AXN
- Québec - Ztélé
- Romania - AXN
- Serbia - BKTV
- Singapore - MediaCorp TV Channel 5
- Slovakia - Markíza televízia (Season 1, Season 2. Season 3 airing now.)
- Slovenia - POP TV (Pro Plus)
- Spain - Telecinco, AXN, cuatro
- Sweden - TV4 (Season 1-5)
- United States - ABC, TNT (Seasons 1-4)
- Taiwan - AXN
- Thailand - AXN
- Turkey - DiziMax
- United Kingdom - Sky One, Channel 4, Channel 5, Bravo,
Note: United Kingdom's most recent seasons are showing on Bravo. Norway's most recent seasons are showing on TvN.
 External links
- ABC Alias episode guide (US distributor)
- Alias Syndication Site
- CTV Alias Website (Canadian distributor)
- Alias Music Index at TuneFind
|Episodes: Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5|
Jack Bristow | Sydney Bristow | Francie Calfo | McKenas Cole | Gordon Dean
|Technologies & Projects|
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